Phoenix National Eating Disorder Awareness Walk: Why I’m walking
February 26 – March 4 is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. This year’s theme is Let’s Get Real. The goal is to “expand the conversation and highlight stories we don’t often hear.”
Until I started meeting people in recovery, I knew no one else with an eating disorder. Which, considering that 30 million Americans struggle with one, seems suspicious. Once I began speaking about my own, so many women around me started sharing their own stories. I can’t say for certain, but I’m pretty sure that if I had been screened for disordered eating earlier on I would have had at least the vocabulary to describe what I was experiencing.
It’s a weird thing to learn how to take up space. One of the most insidious things about the lies eating disorders tell us is how closely they fit the narratives we’re surrounded with. If only you pushed yourself harder, if only you had the drive and self-control to resist temptation, if only you weren’t so lazy you could be the person you want to be. And until then, do what you can to remain unseen.
We look at each other and think, “I just don’t know how she does it.” Our social media feeds pile up with dieting triumphs, “inspirational” photos overlaid with facile quotes and tips and tricks and try this one thing and you’ll never have to diet again-s! We look at it all and wish we were just dedicated enough to get this one, basic thing right.
One of the hardest things I’ve faced during recovery is learning how to view negative thoughts about my body as indicators of something greater. I’m not simply learning how to live with what I’ve got. For a while, it was “this will suffice for now.” Sure, I’m learning how to listen to hunger cues and feed myself what I need, but there was always the niggling thought in the back of my mind that if I do this, I’ll eventually lose weight.
I haven’t lost weight (quite the opposite) and I can’t predict what my future might look like. I’m still working on being ok with that, but it has gotten immeasurably easier than it was. I’ve started seeking out images of other fat women being happy. I look for other women of any size who feel at ease in their bodies and honestly, it calms me. I’d like to do the same for others.
I don’t know if fundraising walks help. But I am certain that showing up and being seen does. Thank you heaps for your support, whether you’ve reached out with kind words, donated, or just read to the end of this post.
If you feel inclined, please support my walk. Even $10 is amazing. $10 supports the NEDA screening tool for 180 people. I’ll be matching the first $250 (more if I can swing it and still meet my Antarctica savings goal for the month!).